Positive Deviance

Last week I was lucky enough to hear Libba Pinchot speak. She is co-founder of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, an alternative school of business that focuses on sustainability and social responsibility. http://bgi.pinchot.edu/discover/  She is an incredible woman, 71 years old, glowing with vitality and strength. One topic that she discussed that I found fascinating is the concept of ‘positive deviance’. This is sort of like working outside the ‘rules’ or the ‘mainstream’ but in a positive way, to benefit others. This really struck me as relevant to nutrition work today. To choose to eat in a way that is beneficial to your body is to almost be a radical in terms of mainstream marketing and the food supply as it is presented. Walk into any major grocery store and I guarantee there are far more unhealthy choices than healthy, and WAY more marketing money behind the unhealthy choices (when’s the last time you saw a TV commercial for carrots?) We must think outside the lines, choose to exercise our 'positive deviance' when we choose to not buy processed foods, buy whole foods, cook for ourselves, and not succumb to the barrage of marketing that is all around.

If we want to take it further, we can find many other instances of positive deviance required when considering moving towards a healthier nourishment. Not eating 150 lbs of sugar a year? That’s radical. Not eating typical breakfast foods for breakfast? That's radical. Considering whether wheat or other dietary stressors might be making you feel less than great? That’s radical. Packing your own lunch so you can have good quality protein and lots of good vegetables for lunch instead of a sandwich, noodles, or some other refined carb heavy lunch that is typical of takeout? That’s radical. Having carrots and hummus or apple and nut butter for your morning snack to keep your blood sugar from spiking instead of the pastry and (often sugary) coffee available in every single coffee shop? That’s radical. Only eating while you eat, not eating in front of your computer or your desk, or in your car? That’s radical. Eating slowly with friends and family and enjoying every bite while you talk about life together? That’s radical.

And yet, all of these things can contribute heavily to our well being, our health, our energy, our ability to bring positivity into the world. The bottom line is that your quality of life is on the line- how much is that worth to you? Is it worth enough to find your own positive deviance and buck the trend? Wouldn’t it be great if we all were willing to be a little radical where our good health and wellness our concerned? Suddenly it would not seem so radical at all! What a great goal to work towards. Can you find new ways to bring positive deviance into your nourishment?